Poaching the Smiley Road

“Four mile post. Entering the lost community of the huckleberry pickers. You are not forgotten.”

Someone had carved this inscription into a board and nailed it to a tree at mile four, coming from Ellenville, on the Smiley carriage road.

Smiley Road
Along the Smiley Road

Earlier this month, I’d run a loop in Sam’s Point Preserve, partly inspired by Marc Fried’s book The Huckleberry Pickers. The Smiley road figures large in Fried’s book.

In 1900, the Smiley brothers, owners of Mohonk Mountain House and Cliff House and Wildmere on Lake Minnewaska, expanded their already extensive carriage road network with a seven-mile road from Lake Awosting to Ellenville.

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Sam’s Point Loop

“You come all the way up from Jersey?”

The guy who accosted me on the Publik House’s patio in Ellenville, NY, was some years older than I, sporting a bushy white beard and minding a high-spirited grandchild. I slumped in a chair, contemplating a hard-earned post-run meal and adult beverage.

Minnewaska meadow

“Yeah… I’ve been in the eastern side of Minnewaska a lot, but not so much the west side. Were you a berry picker?”

“Yep, a long time ago.” He sighed and looked into the distance. “There weren’t so many rules then.”

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High Point State Park Monument Hike

On Saturday, I had to drop off Junior at a school far from home, and was scheduled to come back and pick him up five hours later. It was a structured academic thing so there was no way to stick around the school, nothing to watch. It was either spend that time reading a book in my car, or find something to do in Sussex County, New Jersey.

High Point obelisk

Some quick research revealed that the school was not far from High Point State Park. After failing to find my New Jersey Atlas/Gazetteer around the house I printed a trail map from the park’s website instead. As the name implies, High Point State Park is the top of the Garden State. Don’t be too impressed; it’s 1800 feet above sea level at the summit.

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